To do anything on the internet you need a domain. But how to find one? How do you even buy a domain?
In this article I’ll explain all about domains and why you can’t do anything on the internet without one.
Table of Contents
- What is an Internet Domain Name?
- How Do Domain Names Work
- Does Your Website Need A Domain Name?
- How to Pick a Domain Name for Your Business
- Domain Companies – How To Get a Domain Name for Your Business
- Secure Domain – Encrypt your website traffic
- Namecheap Whoisguard
- Namecheap Premium Domain
- Premium domains sold by namecheap
- Namecheap Premium DNS: Is it worth it?
- Namecheap Domain Auctions
- Namecheap Cancel Domain
- How to transfer domain from Godaddy to Namecheap
- Namecheap alternatives
- In Summary
What is an Internet Domain Name?
An internet domain name is a unique identifier for your website, it’s like your website’s address. You can purchase your domain name from a domain registrar.
A domain name is the web address of a website, an example would be www.yourdomainname.com. In the previous example, yourdomainname.com is the domain, the www part is a sub-domain and is optional.
When you register a domain name with a domain registrar, you are essentially reserving that web address so that no one else can use it in the future.
So long as you keep renewing the domain it can only be used by you. If your renewal lapses, then, after a grace period it will be available again for other companies or individuals to buy.
If you’re setting up a blog or personal website, then it’s entirely up to you what you call it. You can choose any word or phrase that takes your fancy – as long as it’s not already taken by someone else!
You can choose a domain name from any of the many domain registrars available online.
How Do Domain Names Work
Websites run on servers, powerful computers connected to the internet. Websites on servers don’t understand domain names only IP addresses.
The Domain Name System (DNS) converts a domain name into an IP address so that the browser can find the location of the server on the internet.
Think of it like a zip code or post code. It’s a convenient way of finding an address, it’s the same with computers, a domain name is a easy way for humans to find an IP address.
Does Your Website Need A Domain Name?
Technically, if you know the IP address of a website you can type it into a browser and find the website.
There are several problems with this though. First of all, IP addresses aren’t easy to memorize, just look at this one: 126.96.36.199, not easy to remember is it?
Secondly, if the website owner changes the server of their website the IP address will change as well.
Thirdly, if multiple websites are hosted on a server, which is typical for hosting companies, the server will not know what website should be served to you so you will probably see an error screen rather than the expected website.
How to Pick a Domain Name for Your Business
Well, it’s up to you what name you use as long as it’s unique. You can choose words, numbers and hyphens or come up with a branded name.
It’s a myth that putting keywords you rank for in your domain will give you a quick SEO boost. It’s not true. You have to work hard to get SEO benefits, no quick fixes – sorry.
Top Level Domain (TLD)
The last part of the domain is called the Top Level Domain (TLD). It usually is .com but there are many other TLD’s to choose from.
.com is the most trusted TLD though, so try to use .com unless you can’t find your preferred name for this TLD.
Some TLD’s that are very cheap (less than $1) are considered spammy and low quality, so you should avoid those at all costs.
Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD)
Top level domains (e.g. .com, .jobs) don’t help you rank but the exception to that rule is when your TLD is a country code, e.g. “vn” or “sg” or any other country code.
When you use a country code as the top level domain this strongly indicates to Google you are specifically targeting that country and Google will rank your website higher in that country.
Shorter is better
Shorter domain names are easier to type and easier to remember. Plus a reduced chance of typos and easier to fit on a business card or marketing material.
Don’t user numbers or hyphens
They just get in the way, just imagine having to tell someone your domain, “Yeah, you can find our website, it’s my hyphen awesome hyphen website dot com.”
Find a domain starting at $0.99
powered by Namecheap
Domain Companies – How To Get a Domain Name for Your Business
Buying a domain name directly is the cheapest way to get a domain. You can also buy them from hosting companies but you will usually pay more that way.
Visit any domain registrar to buy a domain name. I use NameCheap for all domains, it’s cheap and easy to use. GoDaddy is another well known domain name company.
Secure Domain – Encrypt your website traffic
Security is very important, especially when you request contact information or handle online payments.
Your visitors expect all communication will be handled securely. Your SEO score will be harmed if you don’t use secure communication on your website.
The solution is to buy a SSL certificate for your domain. Once installed on your website all communications will be encrypted by default.
Some hosting companies, like SiteGround, will offer free SSL certificates and tools to easily create and install them on your website.
You are probably thinking what the heck is Whoisguard? Well, it protects or “guards” whois. So you are probably thinking that doesn’t help much…
What is Whois?
When you register a domain, you must provide and maintain an up-to-date contact information for the public Whois database. This is required by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). This is required, every domain owner must do this.
The problem is, because this information is public, spammers can query this database find your contact email and add you to their spam list. Soon your inbox will be inundated with viagra emails and offers from Nigerian princes.
The solution namecheap and other domain registration providers came up with is to be provide protection to you by not using your contact information in the whois database. The whoisguard service replaces your email address with a unique email address.
What happens when emails are sent to the namecheap provided email address?
Your “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address receives your email, filters it for spam, and then forwards it to an email address of your choice.
This keeps you protected from fraud and identity theft.
Your contact details will be hidden from the public.
Free for life with every new registration or transfer
Namecheap Premium Domain
Premium domains are high-value domains that, with some effort, can be turned into strong branding opportunities.
Premium domain are put up for sale either by their existing owners or by namecheap.
Why do some domains cost more?
Short named domains are generally more valuable. No-one wants to type a long website name into their browser. Plus more chances of a typo.
Common words are considered more valuable because they can be spelled easier than a made up word.
Premium domains for sale by existing owners
These domains will usually have a one time purchase fee with renewal costs being the same as a normal domain.
Namecheap will arrange the deal with the current owners, no action is required by you. The domain will be transferred to your account.
Premium domains sold by namecheap
Namecheap will determine certain domains to be premium due to their potential high value.
Registry premiums have special pricing not only for acquisition but also for renewal and transfer.
What happens after purchase?
Registry domains will be provisioned for your account quickly (usually within 72 hours for domains that support “fast” transfer, otherwise 10 days).
Domains sold from an existing owner will take some time to be transferred as third-parties are involved.
Namecheap Premium DNS: Is it worth it?
Premium DNS provides improved speed for the DNS service – which means a quicker loading website.
For SEO and visitors to your website, a fast loading website is critical. No-one wants to wait 3, 4 or more seconds for a page to load.
Premium DNS offers:
- Always 100% online
- Closes security gaps
- Faster DNS speed
- Secures any domain
- Perfect for business
- Easy to manage
Is is worth it? Well for $4.88 per year your website will load quicker. That’s a cup of coffee, not a bad deal.
Compared to Namecheap’s competitors this service is extremely cheap. For instance, GoDaddy is charging $35.88 per year for the equivalent service.
Namecheap Domain Auctions
Want to buy an existing domain? No problem, Namecheap has a market where you can bid on existing domains. Check it out here: https://www.namecheap.com/market/
The market is split into two sections:
- Buy it Now
Currently, at the time of writing, over 300,000 domains were up for auction. The prices ranged from $5 to over $3,000.
For buy-it-now domains, over 20 million domains are on offer, some for crazy prices.
Namecheap Cancel Domain
If you no longer need your domain you have several options.
Sell the domain on the namecheap market
The namecheap market will allow you to list your domain for sale.
Let your domain expire
Alternatively you domain will expire automatically. Ensure you don’t have auto-renew turned on.
Once a domain has expired any website you have on that domain will stop working. You can still renew your domain for a period of 30 days after expiry.
After this 30 day period has expired the domain enters a grace period, this is a period where you may still be able to reactivate the account by contacting the customer support team.
Transfer ownership of your domain
You can transfer ownership of your domain to someone else. Change of ownership is final and cannot be reversed by namecheap. You would need to contact the new owner to reverse it.
If the new owner has a namecheap account you can send an email invitation to them via namecheap. If accepted they will take ownership of the domain.
How to add a Namecheap CNAME
A CNAME record lets you point a subdomain to a hostname record. Typically you use it to point your “www” subdomain to your main hostname “mywebsite.com”.
You can create a CNAME using namecheap only if your domain is pointed to “Namecheap Web Hosting DNS“.
Detailed steps to add a CNAME can be found on namecheap’s website. Here is the link:
How to transfer domain from Godaddy to Namecheap
Namecheap has a page detailing the steps you need to do to transfer a domain from Godaddy to Namecheap.
Here is the link: https://www.namecheap.com/support/knowledgebase/article.aspx/876/83/how-to-transfer-a-domain-from-godaddy/
It’s quite a long process so I won’t try and summarize it here. The link above will give you all the information you need.
Namecheap isn’t the only option when you want to buy a domain. In this section I’ll look at some other domain registration companies.
Namecheap vs Hover
Prices on Hover are more expensive. For a .com domain I tested the price was $14.99. The exact same name on namecheap was $9.58 and with a promo code it was $6.98 – less than half the price quoted from Hover.
Namesilo vs Namecheap
Namesilo charged $10.98 for a .com name that I tested, a little more expensive than namecheap.
Free Whois privacy.
SSL certificates are available for under $10 a year.
Website hosting and email plans are also available for a low price.
Namecheap vs Siteground
I’ve used both Namecheap and Siteground. I usually buy a domain on namecheap (because it’s the cheapest option) and then transfer the hosting over to Siteground.
That way I can manage a website from Siteground without having to do anything on Namecheap, especially when you set auto-renew on your domain.
Alternatively you can just buy a domain directly from Siteground this makes it easier to manage your websites as you can access your DNS records directly from Siteground’s control panel.
You can make your business stand out on the web with a domain name that represents your brand.
- Use .com or other well respected top level domain (.org or .net)
- Use a country code top level domain if you services or products are for one country
- Prefer shorter names and avoid hyphens or numbers
Domain names are easy and cheap to buy. They don’t help you with SEO but can provide a memorable branded name for your company.
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